August 21th, 2009
I had a feeling I would get the time capsule. Not that it’s a bad thing, I feel privileged to be chosen to speak about my experiences at SJC.
10 years ago I arrived at this camp with a bowl cut, an overstuffed suitcase, and no idea what to expect. I don’t remember much about that first year, except that I must of liked it enough to come back to next year. And the next year. and the next year, and so on and so on until I find myself standing here, at my last closing campfire. This camp has changed me more than anything I can think of. When I first came here I was 7 years old. I was immature, stupid, and naпve. Fast forward to now and I’m 17 and if you ask my cabin, I’m still pretty immature, stupid, and naпve. But more importantly, I have found out about my culture. Yes I’ve been in the beginner language class 10 years running but I’ve learned so much about my background and heritage. Because of this camp I’ve loved and accepted my Korean adoptee status. I can be proud to be an Asian-American. At this camp I can find a level of understanding not found anywhere else.
Now, when people ask me why I keep coming back year after year I just say it’s the place and the people. But after some thinking it’s more than just that. Yes the place is important. Camp Westminster is a place like none other on earth. But it’s waking and falling asleep to the sound of the waves rolling onto the beach. It’s singing the buffalo song at every meal, albeit a little late sometimes. It’s the Big Game, the cabins, and even the capers. OK, not the capers. It’s how you can take 8 strangers and by campout you have a cabin of brothers. It’s staying up late talking about the most stupid and random stuff and arguing about who is the hottest girl. It’s getting fly for the dances, last minute skits that somehow end up awesome and all the inside jokes. It’s how I’ll never look at a trombone or a thumb the same way again. It’s how a dude from Maryland and the junior girl I asked to the dance 8 years ago can end up being your best friends.
To all the younger campers I want to say what every senior has said before me. At SJC and in life, you get what you put in. go all out. Leave it all on the table. If you leave camp with no regrets I can guarantee you’ll have a more rewarding and fulfilling experience. Trust me, I have cross dressed and embarrassed myself more times than I can remember but looking back at these ten years I can truly say I regret nothing. I leave this camp for the last time, once more a complete and better person than who I was when I arrived. And for that I want to thank each and every one of you, camper and staff alike. All of you have impacted me in a positive way and I hope I have done the same for you. And like the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. We class of seniors leave for the last time but more importantly this camp goes on. I will never forget this place and how special it and every person here is to me. I end in saying I hope all who can come back will and I hope all of you can take away as much from this camp as I have.